(HockeyStL) -- The Blues announced at a press conference on Wednesday that general manager Doug Armstrong has been signed to a five-year contract extension.
“We are thrilled to have Doug in St. Louis through the 2017-18 season and beyond,” said Blues Owner Tom Stillman. “He has been instrumental in returning the Blues to the top of the Central Division and was very deserving of the GM of the Year award. His vision in the draft process, and his prowess in the trade and free agent markets have positioned our organization to succeed well into the future.”
This season will be Armstrong’s third season as general manager of the Blues. Armstrong, 48, is the son of NHL Hall of Fame linesman Neil Armstrong. He has been with the Blues since July, 2010 when he replaced former General Manager and current Vice President of the team, Larry Pleau.
Pleau was the Blues general manager for 13 seasons. Before being named as the Blues general manager, Armstrong spent two seasons as the Blues Vice President of Player Personnel, as well as 17 seasons with the NHL’s Dallas Stars, six of which he was their General Manager. During his tenure as general manager of the Stars, Armstrong led the team to four playoff berths.
Armstrong’s first transaction as Blues’ General Manager was to acquire goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Montreal Canadiens. Since then, Armstrong has had a hand in the acquisition of Jamie Langenbrunner, Kevin Shattenkirk, Brian Elliott, and Scott Nichol.
In the 2010-11 season, near the trade deadline, Armstrong made a blockbuster deal with the Colorado Avalanche, sending former number one overall pick, Erik Johsnon and veteran forward, Jay McClement, to the Avalanche in exchange for promising defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and power forward Chris Stewart. However, Armstrong’s most powerful move came last fall when he fired Davis Payne 13 games into the season and hired Ken Hitchcock. The Blues responded to the change and rose to the top of the Western Conference, and won their first playoff series in a decade.
At the end of the 2011-12 season, Armstrong was named GM of the year at the NHL’s annual awards show in June after the Blues secured a playoff berth for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
The Blues, who are coming off of 109-point season, are primed for another winning campaign. They return with only a few changes to their roster and with expectations as high as ever. Armstrong has played a huge role in the team’s success, rebuilding the team despite restrictions financially in past years under former owner Dave Checketts.
Armstrong has been praised for his efficiency with money when signing players. The highest paid player on the Blues’ roster is Andy McDonald, who is set to make $4.7 million for the 2012-13 season. David Backes is making just under that at $4.5 million.
Recently, Armstrong was able to lock up wingers T.J. Oshie (five-year contract) and David Perron (four-year contract).
The Blues’ payroll sits in the lower third of the NHL. The Blues have only $54,882,994 devoted to player salaries which puts them over $12 million below the top spending NHL team.
The Blues will see their payroll increase considerably in 2013 as Andy McDonald, Chris Stewart, Alex Pietrangelo, Patrik Berglund, and Kevin Shattenkirk are all in the final year of their current contracts. Armstrong though thinks he will be able to offer enough money to bring back anyone he wants to return.
“That’s going to be the goal but we understand the economics of the NHL and we don’t shy away from that,” said Armstrong. “Finances will never be a reason why we don’t reach our goals here.”
The team cut ties with team president John Davidson this past offseason. Davidson was largely responsible for acquiring the Blues’ young talent, but Armstrong became largely involved in transactions when he came aboard in 2010. The Blues elected to leave Davidson’s former position vacant, giving Armstrong the majority of the power on the hockey side of things.
In two seasons with the Blues, Armstrong has put together a record of 87-55-22. He had 190 wins with Dallas in his six-year tenure as their General Manager.